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A review of models of fluctuating protrusion and retraction patterns at the leading edge of motile cells.

Authors
  • Ryan, Gillian L
  • Watanabe, Naoki
  • Vavylonis, Dimitrios
Type
Published Article
Journal
Cytoskeleton (Hoboken, N.J.)
Publication Date
Apr 01, 2012
Volume
69
Issue
4
Pages
195–206
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1002/cm.21017
PMID: 22354870
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

A characteristic feature of motile cells as they undergo a change in motile behavior is the development of fluctuating exploratory motions of the leading edge, driven by actin polymerization. We review quantitative models of these protrusion and retraction phenomena. Theoretical studies have been motivated by advances in experimental and computational methods that allow controlled perturbations, single molecule imaging, and analysis of spatiotemporal correlations in microscopic images. To explain oscillations and waves of the leading edge, most theoretical models propose nonlinear interactions and feedback mechanisms among different components of the actin cytoskeleton system. These mechanisms include curvature-sensing membrane proteins, myosin contraction, and autocatalytic biochemical reaction kinetics. We discuss how the combination of experimental studies with modeling promises to quantify the relative importance of these biochemical and biophysical processes at the leading edge and to evaluate their generality across cell types and extracellular environments.

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